i + D - September/October 2020 - 10

An Inside
View

Design has impacted you since before you entered the
world. Hard to believe, but it's true. The healthcare
environment that supported you before you were born
played a critical role in the health of your mother, and
the design of that space-its comfort, atmosphere,
efficiency-made a difference on you, too. Design is
inescapable. But then why does it so often feel reserved
for only a select few?
In reality, design is the ultimate equalizer, and we must
push ourselves, as a profession, to look at how we can
bring it to all. We can understand design's tangible impact
as we look at the research from a broad set of industries.
One incredible example of inclusive, equalizing design
can be found in the education world with the Sensory
Wellbeing Hub (a 2020 ASID Outcome of Design Award
winner), designed by HKS to support adolescents with
developmental disabilities. The Chicago project serves
approximately 60 diverse learners, ages 14 to 21, creating
a space that works for their unique needs and levels the
playing field between them and their peers. The results?
Students were observed to be significantly happier during
the hub visit than before. Students with autism spectrum
disorder (ASD) reported higher emotional wellbeing
in the second semester than the first semester, based
on a wellbeing survey conducted in the two semesters
following installation. And the hub's modular design

As we continue to experience these waves of uncertainty
in our world, for some of us north of the border, this
time away from the noise has afforded us with moments
of reflection.
It is no secret that Canada has a public housing problem,
which has never been more evident than during the
current global pandemic. In Toronto, where IDC is
based, small groups of tents that popped up in parks
across the city in early spring had grown into sprawling
tent towns by late summer. Humans are living on the
sides of highways and underpasses and on the edges
of lakes, and that is a problem that we cannot ignore.
The pandemic has forced many of us to look inward in
search of what we need most. For most of us within
this design community, we have shelter; and, therefore,
we are lucky to have so much.
In a way, we began this conversation and this journey
in 2017 with the Impact Summit-a collaborative
conference between IDC and ASID. The annual summit,
which focused on migration, culture, and diversity in the
built environment, kicked off with a guided walking tour
of Toronto's Regent Park neighborhood, a mixed-use
community many new immigrants call home.

10

system and the mobility of the sensory cocoon allow
teachers and staff to adapt and evolve the space as
needed in the future. Through design, these students were
empowered to achieve their learning goals and given
the tools they needed to do so, just as their peers already
had every day.
The Sensory Wellbeing Hub is just one instance of many
that proves the need to design for people, not in spite of
or around them, with design helping everyone find their
place. How can we support and expand this idea and
continue to do good through our profession? We hope
that at ASID, we are able to help steer you through this
challenge and give you the tools you need to embrace it
in your own practice. Visit our ASID Academy for CEU
programs from the recent ASID Virtual Conference on
relevant topics including Design, Housing and Social
Justice; Neurodiversity and Workplace Inclusivity; and
Research is Power: Design's Impact on Health and
Wellbeing. And we hope this issue inspires you to take
the next step in designing to make a difference!

Gary E. Wheeler, FASID, FIIDA
Interim Chief Executive Officer
American Society of Interior Designers

My former firm, Hudson Kruse, undertook work on the
first several buildings in Regent Park including the first
Toronto Community Housing buildings, and during the
summit, I was happy to contribute as one of the panel
moderators to the discussion centered around culture.
In other work, during my 11-year stint as chair of
AIDS Walk, I helped raise more than $7 million for the
organization. From such personal experience, I know
that the importance of volunteering our time and services,
as designers, as people with a voice, is becoming more
important in a world that is so blatantly unequal.
Perhaps it is time to revisit those important conversations
on diversity, inclusion, and affordable housing, and
make a new plan of action-one that helps provide
shelter, safety, and comfort to those who truly need it.

Trevor Kruse, FIDC
Chief Executive Officer
Interior Designers of Canada

i+D - September/October 2020



i + D - September/October 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i + D - September/October 2020

Contents
i + D - September/October 2020 - Cover1
i + D - September/October 2020 - Cover2
i + D - September/October 2020 - 3
i + D - September/October 2020 - 4
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i + D - September/October 2020 - Contents
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180708_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180506_french
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